Establish a Pattern of Prayer for Your Children
by Charlie Matz
When was the last time you accomplished an important goal or you saw real growth in your life? Perhaps it was an exercise program. Maybe you changed your diet to become more healthy. Maybe you ran a marathon or completed a rigorous course. Regardless of what you sought to tackle, if you saw real growth or accomplishment, I’m willing to bet a cheese pizza that it was preceded by consistent diligence. I’ll throw in some breadsticks and guarantee that you established a pattern of behavior that helped you achieve daily goals that led up to massive movement over time.
The same pattern is required for personal growth through prayer. The same pattern is a prerequisite to seeing God work through prayer. He loves a needy heart that knocks on His door rigorously. In Luke 18:1-8 we read:
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”As a family, it’s important to see how God is moving and shaping your life. When you pray together as a family, you get to see how God weaves your family’s story together over time. He gets the glory and everyone grows closer to Him and closer together as a result. And when we pray with our little ones, from an early age, it helps them to see that we take prayer seriously. It helps them to see that God is really engaging with us through prayer.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
There is so much to say about prayer, so much that can’t be summed up in a short article like this one. I highly recommend the book The Power of Prayer by R.A. Torrey. In the meantime, I’d like to offer three ways to establish a pattern of prayer for you and your children.
Plan to Pray Daily and Different with the Family
It’s important to have a plan. Without a plan, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same thing all of the time and it can lose its meaning. Do you pray the same prayers at dinner time all of the time? Do certain phrases or words lose meaning? Do your children even know what all of them mean? It’s important to form a plan to pray so that you can model to your children that prayer is wildly engaging, captivating, and the most important privilege that any Christian has! There’s a resource we’ve created to help with this that we’ll share with you at the bottom, but for now, let’s continue on!
Pray The Scriptures
One way to keep things fresh and different each day is to pray the scriptures. Praying with an open Bible is an excellent way to keep things focused, engaging, and always new. The Bible is breathed out by God Himself, so when we use it to pray to God, it’s a very powerful exercise. Choose a different passage of scripture to pray each day and let it guide you through family prayer time. Your children get to hear scripture and engage in prayer at the same time. Win-win.
Break Your Routine into Months
There’s something so helpful about a new day and a fresh start. The same can be said for a new week, month, quarter, or year. If you can change up your family prayer routine each month, it will help to keep the energy and momentum going. Perhaps you change up the location or the topics. It doesn’t need to be much. At our home, we pray for a different Church family each Month. This allows us to go deep, praying for very specific things throughout the Month, but then move on to another exciting family at the start of the next month. The kids love it and they get very excited about who they will pray for.
Train Your Children to Look for Needs
Many times our children will already have a family in mind by the time the next month rolls around. That’s because they are learning to look out for prayer needs. This is such an encouragement to witness. Our hope is that this simple habit will sprout into a lifelong discipline of intercessory prayer for those in their own churches when they are adults.
If you are choosing a Monthly topic or routine, followed by a proactive approach to pray the scriptures daily, you will most certainly start the work of establishing a pattern of prayer for your children. But, if you’re like me, one of the most exciting rewards to a disciplined pattern of prayer is watching how God answers those prayers.
Praise God for Answered Prayers with Your Children
Have you ever found an old prayer journal and read through it? It’s one of the most encouraging and faith-building things I’ve ever done. It’s a record of God’s sovereignty, putting on display the glory of a God who is all loving and totally in control. There’s probably no better way to learn to trust God more deeply than to recount how He worked through your prayer life. I can only imagine the impact this will have on our children. We know with 100% certainty that God is our authority, He is perfectly holy, He is just, and He is loving, and we want our children to not only take our word for it but see these realities on display in our everyday lives.
If you can write down your daily, monthly prayers and keep a record of them, then you’ll create the opportunity to go back and review them throughout the years, witnessing God’s power and love continuously.
If all of this sounds like a plan and you’re ready to establish a pattern of prayer in your home, we have the perfect resource for you! We created the Prayer Calendar.
We designed it to establish a pattern of prayer, just like what we’ve written about above. Visit this page to learn more and to order one for your family today!